by Douglas Hackle
When Mrs. Eleanor Henderson called upon me—Douglas Hackle, Licensed Private Investigator—to solve the case of her husband’s murder, the case had been closed for over three years.
On June 4, 2009, Mrs. Henderson’s husband, Gregory, was killed by a chainsaw-wielding maniac named Dizzy-o Parcheezy on a busy street in downtown Dapperchild, Illinois. The victim had been on his lunch break and walking back to his office, a bag of Taco Bell in hand, when Parcheezy stepped out from an alley and chopped the man’s head off with a chainsaw. Parcheezy proceeded to leisurely cut up the rest of Henderson’s body right there on the busy sidewalk in broad daylight in front of hundreds of onlookers, many of whom recorded it using their cell phones. When he was done cutting Henderson into bits, Parcheezy strolled on over to the nearby Dapperchild First Precinct Police Station and turned himself in, confessing to the crime.
Parcheezy was convicted of first-degree murder eight months later and sentenced to life in prison, avoiding the death penalty by pleading guilty by reason of batshit-insanity.
An open-and-shut case if there ever was one.
But that hadn’t stopped the widow Henderson from calling me nearly four years after the fact, asking me to solve the murder.
“Um, ma’am,” I’d said, trying to be polite, “you do know that the killer turned himself in right after he murdered your husband, right? He was convicted and imprisoned for life.”
“Yes, I know,” the woman said through her sobs. “But I don’t care! I want you to solve my husband’s murder!”
“But, ma’am. There’s, like, nothing to solve. Justice has already been served, ma’am.”
“I don’t care. Please find the man who killed my husband and bring him to justice! I’ll pay handsomely. How does five hundred thousand smackeroonies sound to you?”
I wasn’t exactly in a position where I could turn down a cool half mil. Know what I’m sayin’, sauce? I mean, is anyone in that position? So never mind that the gig didn’t make a lick of fucking sense. I needed that money. Bad. See, I had literally hundreds of illegitimate children scattered throughout the country and hundreds of angry my-babies’-mamas sending lawyers after me to get me to cough up a king’s ransom in child support every month.
So I took the case, yo.
I had a friend on the Dapperchild police force who agreed to pull the Henderson case file for me. I planned on examining it with my jumbo-sized private eye magnifying glass to see if I could find any clues. Only problem was I was out in the burbs, and I needed to get all the way downtown to meet him at the police station, which necessitated me driving my car. Unfortunately, the tags on my beat-up ’96 Chrysler Sebring convertible were expired. In order to renew my registration and get new tags, I was obliged to go to the E-Check station and have my car tested.
So I waited in the long line at the E-Check station for two miserable hours before finally pulling up into the building to be served.
“Please exit your vehicle, sir, and step over to the waiting area,” a grumpy female inspector garbed in grease-stained coveralls said. “The test will take about two minutes.”
I did as instructed, grabbing my chainsaw before I climbed out of my shitbox car. (I generally kept a chainsaw on my person just as a security precaution, as I couldn’t afford a proper handgun at the time, what with all that child support I was doling out every month.)
A hot dame—the customer ahead of me—was sitting inside the glass-enclosed waiting area. I sat on the bench across from her, setting my chainsaw down next to me. She looked up from her InTouch magazine. I smiled, winked my left peeper, which happened to contain a fiber-optic implant that twinkled whenever I winked at someone, like a movie star’s eye. The vixen pulled a sour face, rolled her eyes, and shook her head to indicate she was not impressed before returning her attention to her magazine.
A minute later, the inspector walked into the room, handed the woman a printout and said, “You’re all set. Your vehicle passed.” Then the inspector turned to me. “Sorry, sir. But your vehicle did not pass.”
“Whaddaya mean it didn’t pass?” I asked.
“Do you speak English?” the inspector said, all mean and snarky. “Your. Vehicle. Did. Not. Pass. We all drive Es nowadays. Your vehicle failed the E-Check because it’s not an E, you moron. Oh, and by the way, your shitty car’s engine just blew up.”
“We all drive Es nowadays?” I asked in confusion. “What are you talking about, toots? I thought the E-Check was to test vehicle emissions.”
Both dames started laughing at me.
So I looked out the window. Sure enough, the “vehicle” in front of mine—the one belonging to the dame—was a big, white, three-dimensional letter E about nine feet wide and twelve feet tall. Like the plaything of a Godzilla-sized Kindergartener. A ladder bolted to the E’s side led up to a roof, where a steering wheel was affixed to an exposed, slanted steering column like on a dune buggy. Also attached to the roof were two upholstered carlike seats. I glanced over to the right to see a procession of identical Es queued outside the station, all mounted by drivers who were no doubt feeling just as impatient as I’d felt while waiting in that damn line.
“Oh, yeah?” I said, now angry as hell as I leaned down to pull the start rope on my chainsaw. It fired up on the first pull. “Well, take this you man-hating, bra-burning, slutty, slut-shaming, femi-nazi SLUT!” I said as I spun around and chopped the inspector’s head clean off.
The dame sprung up from the bench with a horrified gasp, and we both stared down at the decapitated body for moment, watching it bleed out onto the floor.
The dame slapped me hard across the face.
“That misogynistic comment you made offended me!” she said as she crossed her arms over the pair of luscious, grapefruit-like mounds concealed behind the tight blazer of her business suit.
“Hey, dollface, shouldn’t you be a little more offended by the fact that I just chopped somebody’s fucking head off?”
“Kiss me, you fool,” she blurted unexpectedly as she leaned in and smashed her lips against mine, one of her legs kicking back so that her high-heeled foot hung suspended in midair as we smooched, just like in the movies.
The inspector was right—my rust bucket had finally broken down for good. So the dame offered me a ride downtown.
We climbed the ladder on her E. She plopped down in the driver seat, I in the passenger seat. I’d never ridden on an E before. The thing didn’t appear to have wheels. It just sort of glided along the road like a sled. Everywhere around us people were driving identical Es. During the drive downtown, I did not spot a single car, truck, bus, or train.
Call me unobservant, but for whatever reason I had somehow failed to notice the apparent wholesale shift in transportation from automobiles to Es that had occurred at some point in time. See, each one of us has our own unique frame of reference. In our separate paths in life, we all come to learn or not learn completely different facts, truths, and bits of misinformation. But, goddamnit, if someone thinks it’s funny or pathetic that I missed this whole E thing, that someone can just say so to my fucking face, and that someone will find himself French kissing the buzzing blade of my goddamn, motherfucking 17.3-hp Leatherface special, goddamnit!
At any rate, it occurred to me during the ride that I didn’t need to see the Henderson case file. I already knew who the killer was. I also knew exactly where to find him. So I had the skirt drop me off at the nearby state penitentiary instead of the police station. She pulled up next to the towering barbed wire fence that girded the prison grounds and then demanded that I have sex with her as payment for the ride. We did the deed right there on top of the E.
Which turned out to be a big mistake, as I was to find out later that I impregnated her that day—and with quintuplets no less! Identical ones too. Five boys who looked exactly like me. Yup, that’s another five little Douglas Hackles crawling around on this miserable rock we call Earth, each of whom will undoubtedly grow up to be a blithering douchecanoe. And in the meantime, that’s another hefty child support check for me to mail out every month, goddamn it!
Anyhow, as I mounted the ladder to disembark the E, the dame called out, “Please don’t go! I love you, Douglas Hackle!!!”
I paused for a second and responded, “Pfft! You don’t love me. You just love my Douggie-Style,” and resumed my climb down.
After the dame glided away on her E, crying, I pulled out my magnifying glass and used it to concentrate the sun’s rays on the fence, just like I used to do to ants and leaves when I was a kid. Within minutes, I’d burned a hole big enough for me to climb through. Then I tried the magnifying glass trick on the reinforced concrete wall of the prison, to great success. Before long, I’d breached the four-foot-thick barrier and was inside the Big House, using my chainsaw to take out any sucka-ass prison guards unlucky enough to get in my way as I pushed deeper and deeper into the cellblocks in search of Dizzy-o Parcheezy until eventually I found his skinny, batshit-crazy ass jerking off in his cell.
I busted him out and delivered him forthwith to the First Precinct, where I informed the police that I’d captured the notorious Dizzy-o Parcheezy—cold-blooded murderer of Gregory Henderson—and that now they could finally bring him to justice.
The cops dragged Parcheezy away, but they dragged me away too.
I used my one phone call to inform the widow Henderson that I had solved the already-solved case.
Not a year later, I was tried and convicted for multiple chainsaw murders, breaking a convicted murderer out of prison, failure to make my child support payments, slut-shaming, slut-shaming-shaming (the crime of shaming slut-shamers), misogyny, misandry, misanthropy, anvil-shaming, chair-shaming, paperclip-shaming, burning ants with a magnifying glass when I was a kid, and a host of other infractions of the law. I plead guilty to all counts by reason of batshit-insanity and received twenty consecutive life sentences in a federal maximum-security prison.
Another open-and-shut case if there ever was one.
Nevertheless, I still hired Dizzy-o Parcheezy (he was released from prison on parole a few months ago and now works as a licensed P.I.) to figure out who the hell broke him out of jail and to find out if Douglas Hackle is even alive.
Word in the slammer is that Parcheezy has a bigger magnifying glass than mine and a bigger cock to boot. If he solves the case, I promised him I’d give him the half million dollars I earned from the Henderson case, but he said all he wants in return is a chance to surf the tops of palm trees in a Model-T Ford driven by a hardscrabble vagabond with a foretaste for mythopoetic, snappish, sentient anvils held in thrall of a Prussian-Arabian fetal polar bear in the pink of health via a Kierkegaardian karate class-warfare unwitnessed by the unsung, fretful fugue-frogs of protean pear-bears par excellence thwarting the seventeen ontological tip-taps of post-Krull, pre-Ratt Malay$ia-Kentucky if by the sdfdjasklfjdskl-ajfasfskdlajfklsjdafkljdsak lfdsklaf klsdajfklds jaklfjdask lfsdamfkljsaklf jdskl ajfklsjdafklfdsafdsklafjdlsafjs kdlajfd lsajfldsafdsafdsdjsio rjn3e9u5t243t89 &*(24umv89 hjwi9ogijfeowgjwegiorje %^&*etrklpsdfdsafds a&*(@$#? $?$?$?$?$?$?$?$?$?$?$?$?
Douglas Hackle is the author of CLOWN TEAR JUNKIES (Rooster Republic Press), a collection of bizarro/absurdist short stories. Hershel and Joffrey are hawt!!! TERROR MAN. TERROR FACE. TERROR CLOWN. TERROR CHILD. TERROR MAN. TERROR FACE. TERROR CLOWN. TERROR CHILD. TERROR HOUSE. TERROR SHARK. TERROR MOUSE. La la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!